How big is your building and where will it be located?
We will be building on the empty lot on 1st Avenue in downtown Harmony. We looked at existing structures around Harmony and were unable to find any buildings that would meet our needs without massive renovation. Our structure will be approximately 72 feet wide by 50 feet deep. We will have a very small tasting room on site as well as a shaded patio area for visitors to enjoy a cocktail outdoors while they visit.
What is your timeline?
We will begin production in the spring of 2018 and we are currently purchasing equipment.
How do you intend to market your products?
We will begin our marketing by partnering with distributors who can in turn distribute our product to business that may sell it. We will need to visit these businesses and convince them to put our products on their shelves. This will require a lot of time and effort, but we intend to make it fun and give away a lot of free cocktails to entice customers. We have developed a website, will have a social media presence and our location is within inches of the proposed bike path that will be leading into Iowa.
As you can imagine it is difficult to sell a product prior to producing it. We are going to produce a very high quality product that all will enjoy. We have spoken with many local businesses that have agreed to sell our products as well as let us host tasting events at their facilities.
Do you guys know what you are doing?
We have dabbled in home brewing and combined we have over 40 years of experience cooking, mashing, fermenting and distilling. It is illegal to produce liquor without a license, so we don’t have any samples yet, but we promise we won’t let anything out the door without extensive sampling. We have a long list of local volunteers ; )
Are there too many micro distilleries out there for you to compete?
Absolutely not!! The more the merrier! The industry is very similar to the craft brewing industry, there is competition among the craft, but the more of us there are the stronger our presence will be. All of us together will share the same customer base. The customers that are interested in locally produced, handcrafted products are also interested in variety. They will tour, visit and support these local businesses. Every town should have a brewery, vineyard and a distillery or two. The craft distilling industry is just on the verge of an upswing thanks to the reduced cost of licensing.
How soon will you sell your whiskey, doesn’t it have to age?
We are planning to age our whiskey for a minimum of 2 years, but, we are also planning to try a few techniques that may increase the rate of maturation and if we have success with this process we may be able to have a limited release earlier than 2 years. We don’t want to rush anything and chance releasing inferior product, so we will focus on our clear liquors and infusions early on.
Will there be a smell? Near the breweries there is often a sewer smell.
We have visited several micro distilleries and without hesitation we can say the only odor you will smell is if you have your nose directly over a fermenter. The scale at which we are fermenting is minute compared to a large brewery or distillery. There will be zero odor outside our facility. I can say that the barrel rooms smell absolutely fantastic!!
Will there be a plume of smoke such as I see at ethanol plants?
The steam plume at ethanol plants comes from their distillers’ grains drying system exhaust. We will not be drying any of our distillers’ grains. Instead we will be shipping them directly to the farm to be mixed with a feed ration for cattle. The wet grains have to be fed immediately as they will mold if stored. Each batch will be emptied from the still into a tote and we’ll take them in a pickup directly to the cows.